Arts & Entertainment

June Art Column

By Jeff Davis

Jeff Koon’s latest exhibition of his gargantuan polished metal sculptures, stark white plasters and relatively smaller scale mixed media paintings has been extended through August 18 at Gagosian in Beverly. The massive stainless steel transparent colored works are clearly the stars of the show. As you walk into the main space your gaze will be transfixed on the nearly 12-foot-tall blue and magenta “Sacred Heart” sculpture. Essentially a towering heart wrapped in a skin-tight Mylar-like electric blue sheath, tied off tight at the top with a shiny magenta bow. The sculpture is somehow precariously balanced on a stark white slab base. Tempted to reach out and check the sculptures stability? If you get to close the room full of guards will pounce quickly given its surreal price tag.

While the Sacred Heart is indeed impressive, it pales in comparison to the imposing 14-foot “Balloon Rabbit” (Magenta) in the adjacent gallery. The heart and rabbit works take common objects and transform them into monuments – forcing you to walk around them to observe from multiple vantage points. The bunny is so stunning it draws your attention away from smaller, but still impressive, steel works including the “Ballerinas” and “Bluebird Planter” which are perched just a few meters away. Both of these works utilize much finer color gradations and curvatures than the larger pieces. The metal works beg for a video that could explain the challenging construction without giving away the technical trade secrets.

In fact, the steel sculptures suck up so much of the oxygen in the room you may almost forget the five plaster works holding his requisite blue glass gazing balls and the assorted oil on canvas paintings featuring the same reflective spheres positioned in front of them. The orbs are supposed to “reactivate” and “intensify” the familiar scenes.  In reality, they make you part of the art; your reflection becomes the central core. There is a ton of two-hour free parking in the neighborhood, but probably not a great show to drag toddlers to given their desire to reach out and touch.

Down Santa Monica Blvd at 101/Exhibit Gallery, Robin Eley’s “Loss/Less” is showing through July 14. Eley’s current works took over two years to construct – not surprising given that portraits containing 24,000 tiles had to be painstakingly painted, assembled, disassembled and rearranged to form the final works. The process involves creating two original photo-real portraits and then swapping 1” x 1” tiles between the two paintings to create a single unique pixelated or digitized effect for the remaining “twin” portrait.

Your eyes will naturally try to fill in the missing blanks on each side of the portrait, however, that is made more difficult because some of the compositions now have more than the requisite key features (e.g. four eyes on one head or mouths in the wrong position).

The upper level gallery features “The Binary Project”, a 4,900 cell work that involved the artist dismantling and shipping all the tiles from the an original painting of his newborn twins across the globe to a group of Kickstarter campaign participants. The recipients then sent jpeg files of the originals back to Eley who reassembled them into a new 70” x 70” work. Each jpeg is a variation of the original tile with color and even subject matter altered. Eley’s art is a perfect example of technology and the digital world enhancing physical art instead of replacing it.

Other Opportunities:

bG Gallery at Bergamot Station features “Spectrum Gestalt 4” through July 1. Part curatorial, part installation the exhibit brings together artists’ works from a wide variety of genres and mediums, grouping them into an expansive spectrum of color. The show is a result of  an annual open call, allowing the gallery to discover new talent. Spectrum-Gestalt is part of an ongoing series of installation/curatoriales exploring gestalt principles by Australian artist/curator, Airom. There is literally something for everyone – prices range from $20 to $2,000+.


1. “Balloon Rabbit (Magenta)”, 2005-2010, Jeff Koons, Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating. 168” x 107” x 80.75” (1 of 5)

2. “I’m squeaky clean / I just kinda stopped doing stuff”, 2016. Oil on Diabond, epoxy and aluminum honeycomb panel, 34” x 44”, Eley

3. Jeff Koon’s Installation View

June 20, 2017

About Author

Jeff Davis Jeff Davis is an artist with a studio at the Hawthorne Art Complex. He writes a monthly column for Beacon Media publications as well as collecting and investing in art and other asset classes. Mr. Davis has a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota and has lived in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and currently resides in Los Angeles. Please contact Mr. Davis at his website or through Beacon Media if you would like c.overage of a local art event or exhibit.

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